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Nanosilver has no place in consumer products such as foods or cosmetics until the potential hazards from the substance have been fully scrutinised, according to FoodProductionDaily.com.

The report, which quotes the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), says BfR has urged companies considering the use of nanosilver in consumer products to hold off until studies have fully confirmed its safety.

The anti-microbial properties of silver ions are well-established but the BfR said its call for caution came as manufacturers begin to utilise silver particles in the nano-range. It cited the use of nanosilver to coat surfaces in fridges to inhibit the growth of germs as one example that appeared to cause potential concern.

“Until we are in a position to reliably rule out potential health risks, we recommend that manufacturers refrain from using nanosilver in consumer products, BfR president Professor Dr Andreas Hensel was quoted as saying.

Nano materials consist of particles with a diameter of less than 100 nanometres. Their size means they exhibit different properties than those of larger particles of the same substance. Not enough is known about whether these differences in properties could have negative as well as positive consequences.

It has still to be ascertained whether their toxic properties change and they could become a health risk for consumers, said the German experts.

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